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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Season Finale - May 31

Agata and I returned from a long weekend of sipping caipirinhas and making the most of the small SoCal surf jonesing for one more frolic in the snow. We had familial obligations in Vancouver that weekend as it was, not to mention the two unused Whistler lift tickets that we wouldn't dare let go to waste. As it turned out, we closed down the mountain on its final day of snow sliding operations for the season. Here's to better conditions next winter!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mount Rainier - Fuhrer Finger, May 16-17

Preston, John and I (and at least 2 other parties) rode the finger on May 17, with only 2 tracks left behind from the day before. The finger firmed up nicely overnight for good cramponing and no post holing for the length of the chute. There were lots of pebbles whizzing by our heads like bullets and the occasional larger rock that would have knocked one unconscious should it have struck anyone in the mellon. We traversed out onto the Nisqually (the cleaver looked ugly) and encountered strong winds and boot-deep post-holing, but we were behind a strong party of three from Bozeman and the guy out front did all the hard work. Higher up, the winds were making us pretty miserable knocking us around on our tired legs, so we called it a couple of hundred feet below the rim.

The upper Nisqually was soft-packed powder and smooth. The ride down the finger was absolutely ripper corn - no stops from where we entered the finger around 12K to camp at 9.5K. Total descent vertical for the day was over 8000ft. Stoked to have ridden it in such good conditions!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crystal - Southback, May 9

The high spring avalanche forecast for the weekend warranted a conservative choice of venue for our backcountry riding ambitions. So, off to tempt fate in the familiar surroundings of the Crystal Southback we go. See Preston's excellent report on TAY for a detailed blow-by-blow of our wanderings that day.

Chair Pk - North Slope, May 2

Despite the marginal forecast, Preston and I persevered and made a run at what may arguably be considered THE classic Snoqualmie Pass tour - Chair Peak Circumnavigation. With a party of four skiers in hot pursuit, we managed to break trail through the murky weather to the notch low on Chair's NE Buttress and enjoyed a reasonably nice and smooth descent down to Snow Lake. The rain returned in force shortly after we resumed skinning up towards Chair Peak Lake, at which point it seemed pointless to continue and so we called it and high tailed it for the Alpental Pub. If anyone's counting, this would be my second attempt at the damn circumnav.

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